01 May 2007

He is an Eng --- Peruvian?

There's this Gilbert and Sullivan lyric from Pinafore that has always amused the bejeebers out of me:

He is an Englishman!
For he himself has said it,
And it's greatly to his credit,
That he is an Englishman!

For he might have been a Roosian,
A French, or Turk, or Proosian,
Or perhaps Itali-an!

But in spite of all temptations
To belong to other nations,
He remains an Englishman!
He remains an Englishman!

I am rendered bejeeber-less by this song because it connects with something else that I have long been bemused by, which is people being proud of being American, which for most Americans is a total accident of birth.

I mean, I'm grateful to be an American, and glad to be an American, and I think I'm very, very lucky, but it seems a little silly to be proud of something over which I had no control. It's sort of like being proud of being bi-laterally symetrical. Or having O negative blood. I really had no input at all here.

So whenever I pass one of those "Proud to be an American!" (dammit) bumperstickers, I usually hum a few bars of the above nifty piece of 19th century sarcasm.

But the joke's on me because it turns out that the whole Englishman thing is, in fact, optional. If you get some other country to claim your pub in Penzance, like, say Peru, you can give up the whole Shakespeare-1066-Churchhill-blah-blah and be Peruvians instead of Cornishfolk. Why give up the whole Shakespeare, etc and become a wholly-owned portion of a medium-sized South American country? To avoid the smoking ban, of course.

Yep, the Peruvian Arms is offering itself up as a Peruvian consolate in order to be able to smoke on the premises. You've really got to admire that kind of ingenuity. And the fact that it's all going down in a locale made famous by Gilbert and Sullivan, well it's just too much happiness.

Had the Peruvians actually accepted the offer, I'd be ending this post with something like "those wacky Peruvians!" as a shout out to the nicotine-enabled Cornish but no such luck.

And, besides, as The Smokers' Club newsletter (I love Google) points out, Peru has had it own smoking ban since 1991.


David Gorsline said...

The consul, having sold all his consols at a profit, was not consoled as he paced the symmetrical halls of the consulate. Desolate, he admired the lines of the handsome console where he had stashed his money.

Anonymous said...

I am delighted that the Consul was not inconsolable.


Anonymous said...

Of course, the flip side is also wonderfully skewered by Gilbert, in his lines from The Mikado in I've Got a Little List:

The idiot who praises with enthusiastic tone every century but this and every country but his own!